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Chisago Lakes Schools

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May 25, 2022

4/22/2022 2:44:00 PM
North Branch Board hears Covid update; contract progress

It has been nearly an entire school year of promoting vaccinations and healthy habits like frequent handwashing; but North Branch School District 138 has found its way back into “Level One” learning, the closest to a normal school day as possible right now.

North Branch Area Public School Board heard in its regular meeting last week, the district will soon be able to share details about events and celebrations coming up where families can once again be on-site.

Returning to “Level One” means the district is implementing the least-regulated of five covid-19 operational levels.  Levels are based on a state guideline, and begin with fully in-person on-site education evolving to all remote internet learning with various combinations of hybrid instruction options in between.

Supt. Sara Paul told the Board that the North Branch grounds and custodial engineers did such an impressive job of adjusting to covid proptocals that they were invited to facilitate a discussion in a recent National Healthy Schools Summit.  They spoke about indoor climate (environment) and managing the virus and curtailing its prevalence in students.  

Supt. Paul added that it was surprising to hear during this summit how many districts still are not offering in-person learning.

Related to another national matter— Congressman Pete Stauber held an education issues forum with area school representatives on April 11 (same day he met with the public at Lent Town Hall. See Press last week.)  

Stauber heard suggestions, according to Supt. Paul, on the need to expand the Pell Grants (student aid) to high quality short term certificate education.  Plus he was told North Branch  now has a gap in funding Special Education mandates of $3 million.  This is what the federal government does not provide adequate money to schools, to cover required programming. These are national programs but are being paid for with local tax dollars.

In other matters:
~ The School Board liaison to custodial negotiations Sarah Grovender advised the last meeting with mediators resulted in a possible contract,  which is expected to be on the May 12 school board agenda for action.

~ There is a “Patron Tour” for anyone who would like to learn more and visit actual school facilities in the district.  Incoming families, civic groups, grandparents are all welcome.  The tour is April 22.  It runs 7:45 a.m. to noon with lunch provided by the culinary students.  Call Pat Tepoorten or e mail him at ptepoorten@isd138.org.

~ Donations needing to be officially accepted in Board action, included $10,000 from Stacy-Lent Fire charitable gambling; and North Branch Fire sent $4,000. The Stacy Lions $14,000 (combined over two meetings)  The Hockey Association sent $11,000 for hockey rink warming house upgrades and the NB Legion Post $5,000 for the JR ROTC program.

The recognition of seasonal sports was done by video and a couple of coaches attending the Board meeting in person. The boys’ basketball, hockey and wrestling programs, the girls basketball, gymnastics and dance team seasons and accomplishments were highlighted.

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